This spring, we went on a family ski vacation in Colorado where the days were sunny, the snow was fluffy and the smell of marijuana was plentiful. Oh Colorado…why have you made being the parent of a teenager even harder. And more importantly, why didn’t you pass this law thirty years ago? I’m sort of just kidding.
In our regular life, my family lives in the concrete jungle of Houston Texas. Houston earned the fattest city in America title a few years back. Impressive, right?
No, Houston doesn’t have a multimillion dollar ad campaign, (that I know of), attracting the couch potatoes of the world. It can be difficult to be active in a fresh air sort of way in H-town.
The weather is hot, humid and mosquito-ey much of the year. Well let’s just say, it’s not exactly a paradise situation for those of us who enjoy being outdoors.
I love fresh air and sunshine. I crave it. My husband loves sports like surfing and snowboarding rather than working out or going to a gym. I dream of sunny “un-buggy” California days where we could eat every meal al fresco and basically live life outside surrounded by dogs, kids and a sense of freedom.
The freezing cold buildings leave me with a constant feeling of damp discomfort during the excruciating summer months. The minute I enter a sixty seven degree air conditioned building, the hair on my legs begins to grow back from the goose bumps. Okay I’m exaggerating a little. I had the hair lasered off my legs years ago. If you haven’t jumped on that depilatory train, what the heck are you waiting for!
Alright, enough about hair removal. And complaining about Houston weather. And admitting to having a major case of geography envy. The truth is, we do wish we lived somewhere more beautiful and more conducive to an active outdoor lifestyle. I know that kids thrive outside…exploring in nature, playing with friends, using their imaginations. As a result, we do spend a good amount of time heading out of town and hitting scenic spots where we can unplug and well, breathe deeply.
But as my twelve year old son, Cory, said recently on a short scenic hike while visiting Colorado, “I would love to live here and get to explore all the time but I’d want my friends from Houston to be here with me.”
Being outdoors and exploring natural beauty is my family’s happy place. However, I find that it’s the people in your everyday environment that create the most memorable moments in your life. My family lives in a big city inhabited by a warm, friendly and colorful group of interesting humans.
Someone recently told me that Houston is the most ethnically diverse city in the world. I don’t even know how to fact check that but it sounds way more brag-worthy than the fat thing so I’m just going with that for now. As Cory said, “It would be great to combine Colorado with the friends we love back home”.
We adore the people that live in our concrete jungle. I live in Houston. I love to be outside. I walk my dogs during the heat of the summer. I commit to the sweat and showering more than once a day. It’s part of the deal and I smell good most of the time.
And if you are lucky enough to get both – beautiful outdoor scenery shared with a beautiful community of friends and family, well then, you my friend have truly hit the jackpot in my book.
And remember, kids feel more alive when they make memories with people they love…outside.